Colorado’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) has expanded its eligibility criteria for individuals and families needing heating assistance during the 2019-2020 season.

Enrollment for the program started Friday and continues through April 30.

“We are grateful that a larger number of individuals, seniors and families will be able to take advantage of this program,” Theresa Kullen, LEAP manager, said in a press release. “These new eligibility levels and our online process will make it even easier to access assistance this year.”

Colorado residents with an annual income up to 60 percent of the state median income may qualify for heating assistance through LEAP. The new guidelines apply to individuals not exceeding $2,371/month and a family of four not exceeding $4,561/month.

Applications can be accessed through colorado.gov/cdhs/LEAP, which also links to the state’s CO PEAK system for online application.

“We don’t want people to have to make choices between heating their home and buying groceries or paying for critical prescriptions,” Kullen said.

For program eligibility, candidates must pay home heating costs directly to a utility company or landlord as part of their rent, meet the gross income limits, be residents of Colorado and contain at least one U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S.

If approved, LEAP payments are usually made directly to the primary heating vendor, and a notice is sent to individuals about the benefit amount. Last year, approximately 68,000 applications were approved with an average benefit amount of $463.

Other benefits provided by the program include repair or replacement of a home’s primary heating system. To determine the monthly income eligibility according to the household size, visit colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs/program-eligibility.

LEAP is a federally funded program that helps Coloradans pay a portion of home heating costs during the winter.

“For those not comfortable with online processes, applications can still be faxed, mailed or delivered to the appropriate county/contractor LEAP office,” Kullen said.

Call 866-HEAT-HELP or 866-432-8435 for more information.

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